game in Spanish for kids

My son A is 23 and he just got back from visiting my daughter, K, in Lima, Peru. He was telling me about being there and about arm wrestling with K’s boyfriend. Listening to him, for a moment I saw the eight-year-old A, arm wrestling with his friends in Mexico, the whole group cheering and laughing. Those unexpected images that memory delivers are such gifts!

A still arm wrestles with the same friends in Mexico, but I don’t watch anymore, so I had forgotten all about the game. Arm wrestling has simple vocabulary and is something you can easily do in Spanish with your child.  Also, playground games are often the way that children first play together and make new friends. If you travel as a family to other countries, it is great for kids to be familiar with games like this.

Arm wrestling, like tag, rock-scissors-paper and other traditional games, has different names in different places. In Mexico, it is vencidas or fuercitas, depending on the region.  In Spain they say pulso, and in much of South American it is pulseada.  These are some of the phrases you can use to speak Spanish as you arm wrestle. Some of the phrases are useful for other games too.  So, roll up your sleeves and speak some Spanish!

¿Nos echamos unas vencidas? -Do you want to arm wrestle?
¿Nos echamos un pulso?
¿Jugamos una pulseada?

Con la derecha – with the right (hand)
Con la izquierda – with the left (hand)
Con la otra mano – with the other hand

A la una, a las dos, a las tres – One, two, three (the count to start the match)
Una, dos, tres

Te gané. – I won.
Me ganaste. – You won.

Eres fuerte. – You’re strong.
Soy fuerte. – I’m strong.

¡Otra vez! – Again! / Let’s play again!

¡Dale, dale! – Go, go
¡Sí se puede! – You can do it!

Manten el codo en la mesa. – Keep your elbow on the table.
No seas tramposo/a. – Don’t cheat.
No hagas trampa. – Don’t cheat.

Vowel song from Fun for Spanish Teachers
Walking and Talking in Spanish: Two Rhymes to Combine with Movement